Last night, sometime after midnight, I turned off my computer, walked upstairs, and flipped on the hall light so I could check on our girlies before heading to bed. It’s a little ritual I’ve done since forever, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
I typically touch each one of them on whichever body part I can reach (the three of them share two twin beds). It’s not a superstitious thing–I just like to touch sleeping children. Sometimes I’ll squeeze bare toes peeking out of a blanket or kiss a forehead flushed with sleep-sweat. And sometimes I’ll be caught off guard by the emotion that surges up inside my chest, and tears will spring to my eyes.
Last night was one of those times.
I fingered a stray blond ringlet and thought, “Could I really follow Jesus wherever he asks me to go, even if it means losing this precious little girl?”
I could hardly breathe for the pain in my chest, and that’s when I knew. I’m not as radical as I think I am.
Oh, I’m more radical than I was yesterday. More radical than before I went to Cambodia in July. More radical than at least 60% of you (ha!). But wow. I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.
I can’t help but think of Pastor (he has a name, but everyone just calls him Pastor), a short-statured, huge-hearted Cambodian man who lives with his wife and not-yet-2-year-old son in one of the hardest places to live in all of Southeast Asia. A hub for child trafficking, a playground for unspeakable evil. He lives right in the middle of it all and preaches Jesus and models Jesus and radically abandons all safety and comfort that little ones might be rescued and that pimps and brothel owners might come to Christ.
Pastor made such a huge impact on me when we visited his village that I still don’t have words for it two months later. I couldn’t listen to him without crying as he told story after story of people coming to his clinic desperate for relief from their pains and illnesses. “I give them multi-vitamin and Jesus,” he would say with his mile-wide grin. “When no other doctor or hospital or medicine could help, Jesus healed them.”
And then he told us how he preaches to the 300+ people who find their way to his church and tells them, “Your children are a gift from God. They are not like animals. They are not to be sold.” And then he tells the brothel owners who have also come, “You are doing a very bad thing. If you want to follow Jesus, you must stop what you are doing and live how he wants you to live.”
Can you imagine?
I don’t necessarily think God is calling me to pastor a church in Cambodia (although I wouldn’t put it past him to call Gabe…). I just know that in some way, shape, or form, that what Pastor has? That’s what I want for my life.
I don’t know how many more of my possessions God wants me to sell/give away. I don’t know what it means when Jesus tells us we have to hate our parents and spouse and kids. I don’t know if we’re supposed to live radically in Columbus, OH or take our Radical Freak Show on the road or around the globe. I don’t know if it’s okay to drink Starbucks coffee (or eat Pei Wei) when 26,000 kiddos are dying every day.
I don’t know if it’s pointless to talk to groups of women about sex or parenting or even finding rest in God when BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE LOST.
I don’t know how to respond in 800 words to a chapter that rocked my world every other paragraph.
And that’s why I’m so thankful for all of you. I’m counting on you to stand in the gap for me. To answer all my questions and fill in all my blanks and elaborate and extrapolate where I just can’t.
Didn’t know what you were signing up for, did you?
I’ll probably end up “cheating” and writing blog posts on my thoughts on Chapter 1 at least once (and maybe more) in the days to come. I just can’t go back to business as usual after the mess God is making of my heart.
So, go ahead and link to your awesome posts about Chapter 1. (And don’t forget to include a link to this post in your own post, so your readers can read what others have written, if they’re so inclined.) I’m going to click on every single one of them and read every single word if it takes me until October.
If you don’t have a blog but want to share your thoughts in the comments, HAVE AT IT. And if you want a smidge of direction, here are a couple questions to get you started:
1. “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple,” says Jesus. What in the world are we supposed to think about this??
2. How have you been molding Jesus into your image (lately or your whole life)?
Thank you sooooo much to everyone who is investing time and energy into reading this book and responding! I’ve already witnessed some amazing things–all glory to God! If you don’t have a book yet and want to join us, it’s NEVER too late!! Just catch up as you can!